Edmund Burke Quotes & Wallpapers

Edmund Burke
Total Quotes: 645


Reflect how you are to govern a people who think they ought to be free, and think they are not. Your scheme yields no revenue; it yields nothing but discontent, disorder, disobedience; and such is the state of America, that after wading through up to your eyes in blood, you could only end up where you begun; that is, to tax where no revenue is to be found... all is confusion beyond it. Edmund Burke

When slavery is established in any part of the world, those who are free are by far the most proud and jealous of their freedom. Edmund Burke

A nation without means of reform is without means of survival. Edmund Burke

"War," says Machiavelli, "ought to be the only study of a prince;" and by a prince he means every sort of state, however constituted. "He ought," says this great political doctor, "to consider peace only as a breathing-time, which gives him leisure to contrive, and furnishes ability to execute military plans. "A meditation on the conduct of political societies made old Hobbes imagine that war was the state of nature. Edmund Burke

Government is the exercise of all the great qualities of the human mind. Edmund Burke

No one could make a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little. Edmund Burke

This study [of law] renders men acute, inquisitive, dexterous, prompt in attack, ready in defense, full of resources. In other countries, the people, more simple, and of a less mercurial cast, judge of an ill principle in government only by an actual grievance; here they anticipate the evil, and judge of the pressure of the grievance by the badness of the principle. They augur misgovernment at a distance, and snuff the approach of tyranny in every tainted breeze. Edmund Burke

To be attached to the subdivision, to love the little platoon we belong to in society, is the first principle (the germ, as it were) of public affections. It is the first link in the series by which we proceed towards a love to our country and to mankind. Edmund Burke

Society is indeed a contract.... As the ends of such a partnership cannot be obtained in many generations, it becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born. Edmund Burke

I decline the election. - It has ever been my rule through life, to observe a proportion between my efforts and my objects. I have never been remarkable for a bold, active, and sanguine pursuit of advantages that are personal to myself. Edmund Burke

Illustrious predecessor. Edmund Burke

The use of force alone is but temporary. It may subdue for a moment; but it does not remove the necessity of subduing again: and a nation is not governed, which is perpetually to be conquered. Edmund Burke

All protestantism, even the most cold and passive, is a sort of dissent. But the religion most prevalent in our northern colonies is a refinement on the principles of resistance: it is the dissidence of dissent, and the protestantism of the Protestant religion. Edmund Burke

If any ask me what a free Government is, I answer, that, for any practical purpose, it is what the people think so, - and that they, and not I, are the natural, lawful, and competent judges of this matter. Edmund Burke

Government is a contrivance of human wisdom to provide for human wants. Men have a right that these wants should be provided for by this wisdom. Edmund Burke

You cannot plan the future by the past. Edmund Burke

Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little. Edmund Burke

To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting. Edmund Burke

Hypocrisy can afford to be magnificent in its promises, for never intending to go beyond promise, it costs nothing. Edmund Burke

The effect of liberty to individuals is that they may do what they please: we ought to see what it will please them to do, before we risk congratulations. Edmund Burke

Flattery corrupts both the receiver and the giver. Edmund Burke

There is but one law for all, namely that law which governs all law, the law of our Creator, the law of humanity, justice, equity - the law of nature and of nations. Edmund Burke

The use of force alone is but temporary. It may subdue for a moment; but it does not remove the necessity of subduing again; and a nation is not governed, which is perpetually to be conquered. Edmund Burke

The power of perpetuating our property in our families is one of the most valuable and interesting circumstances belonging to it, and that which tends most to the perpetuation of society itself. It makes our weakness subservient to our virtue; it grafts benevolence even upon avarice. The possession of family wealth and of the distinction which attends hereditary possessions (as most concerned in it,) are the natural securities for this transmission. Edmund Burke

Of all things, wisdom is the most terrified with epidemical fanaticism, because, of all enemies, it is that against which she is the least able to furnish any kind of resource. Edmund Burke

Too much idleness, I have observed, fills up a man's time more completely and leaves him less his own master, than any sort of employment whatsoever Edmund Burke

That cardinal virtue, temperance. Edmund Burke

The true danger is when liberty is nibbled away, for expedience, and by parts. Edmund Burke

Applause is the spur of noble minds, the end and aim of weak ones. Edmund Burke

Whilst shame keeps its watch, virtue is not wholly extinguished in the heart; nor will moderation be utterly exiled from the minds of tyrants. Edmund Burke

But the age of chivalry is gone. That of sophisters, economists, and calculators has succeeded; and the glory of Europe is extinguished forever. Edmund Burke

To make us love our country, our country ought to be lovely. Edmund Burke

He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper. Edmund Burke

Ambition can creep as well as soar. Edmund Burke

Custom reconciles us to everything. Edmund Burke

The person who grieves suffers his passion to grow upon him; he indulges it, he loves it; but this never happens in the case of actual pain, which no man ever willingly endured for any considerable time. Edmund Burke

In a free country every man thinks he has a concern in all public matters,-that he has a right to form and a right to deliver an opinion on them. This it is that fills countries with men of ability in all stations. Edmund Burke

As to great and commanding talents, they are the gift of Providence in some way unknown to us, they rise where they are least expected; they fail when everything seems disposed to produce them, or at least to call them forth. Edmund Burke

Neither the few nor the many have a right to act merely by their will, in any matter connected with duty, trust, engagement, or obligation. Edmund Burke

Old religious factions are volcanoes burnt out. Edmund Burke

Society is indeed a contract. It is a partnership in all science; a partnership in all art; a partnership in every virtue, and in all perfection. As the ends of such a partnership cannot be obtained in many generations, it becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born. Edmund Burke

Nothing tends so much to the corruption of science as to suffer it to stagnate; these waters must be troubled before they can exert their virtues. Edmund Burke

All that's necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing. Edmund Burke

There is but one law for all, namely, that law which governs all law, the law of our Creator, the law of humanity, justice, equity - the law of nature, and of nations. Edmund Burke

What shadows we are, and what shadows we pursue! Edmund Burke

To reach the height of our ambition is like trying to reach the rainbow; as we advance it recedes. Edmund Burke

I would rather sleep in the southern corner of a little country churchyard than in the tomb of the Capulets. Edmund Burke

My hold of the colonies is in the close affection which grows from common names, from kindred blood, from similar privileges, and equal protection. These are ties which, though light as air, are as strong as links of iron. Edmund Burke

Knowledge of those unalterable Relations which Providence has ordained that every thing should bear to every other...To these we should conform in good Earnest; and not think to force Nature, and the whole Order of her System, by a Compliance with our Pride, and Folly, to conform to our artificial Regulations. Edmund Burke

A man is allowed sufficient freedom of thought, provided he knows how to choose his subject properly.... But the scene is changed as you come homeward, and atheism or treason may be the names given in Britain to what would be reason and truth if asserted in China. Edmund Burke

The whole compass of the language is tried to find sinonimies [synonyms] and circumlocutions for massacres and murder. Things never called by their common names. Massacre is sometimes called agitation, sometimes effervescence, sometimes excess sometimes too continued an exercise of revolutionary power. Edmund Burke

The most favourable laws can do very little towards the happiness of people when the disposition of the ruling power is adverse to them. Edmund Burke

The moment you abate anything from the full rights of men each to govern himself, and suffer any artificial positive limitation upon those rights, from that moment the whole organization of government becomes a consideration of convenience. Edmund Burke

It is undoubtedly true, though it may seem paradoxical, - but, in general, those who are habitually employed in finding and displaying faults are unqualified for the work of reformation. Edmund Burke

Prejudice is of ready application in the emergency; it previously engages the mind in a steady course of wisdom and virtue, and does not leave the man hesitating in the moment of decision, skeptical, puzzled and unresolved. Prejudice renders a man's virtue his habit; and not a series of unconnected acts. Through past prejudice, his duty becomes part of his nature. Edmund Burke

All wealth is power, so power must infallibly draw wealth to itself by some means or other. Edmund Burke

A nation is not conquered which is perpetually to be conquered. Edmund Burke

Economy is a distributive virtue, and consists not in saving but in selection. Edmund Burke

In a democracy the majority of citizens is capable of exercising the most cruel oppressions upon the minority...and that oppression of the majority will extend to far great number, and will be carried on with much greater fury, than can almost ever be apprehended from the dominion of a single sceptre. Under a cruel prince they have the plaudits of the people to animate their generous constancy under their sufferings; but those who are subjected to wrong under multitudes are deprived of all external consolation: they seem deserted by mankind, overpowered by a conspiracy of their whole species. Edmund Burke

The only kind of sublimity which a painter or sculptor should aim at is to express by certain proportions and positions of limbs and features that strength and dignity of mind, and vigor and activity of body, which enables men to conceive and execute great actions. Edmund Burke

There are circumstances in which despair does not imply inactivity. Edmund Burke

The moment that government appears at market, the principles of the market will be subverted. Edmund Burke

It is by imitation, far more than by precept, that we learn everything; and what we learn thus, we acquire not only more effectually, but more pleasantly. Edmund Burke

The parties are the gamesters; but government keeps the table, and is sure to be the winner in the end. Edmund Burke

I despair of ever receiving the same degree of pleasure from the most exalted performances of genius which I felt in childhood from pieces which my present judgment regards as trifling and contemptible. Edmund Burke

Those who quit their proper character to assume what does not belong to them are, for the greater part, ignorant both of the character they leave and of the character they assume. Edmund Burke

Expense, and great expense, may be an essential part in true economy. If parsimony were to be considered as one of the kinds of that virtue, there is, however, another and a higher economy. Economy is a distinctive virtue, and consists not in saving, but in selection. Edmund Burke

Refined policy ever has been the parent of confusion, and ever will be so as long as the world endures. Plain good intention, which is as easily discovered at the first view as fraud is surely detected at last, is of no mean force in the government of mankind. Edmund Burke

I consider how little man is, yet, in his own mind, how great. He is lord and master of all things, yet scarce can command anything. Edmund Burke

Falsehood and delusion are allowed in no case whatever; but, as in the exercise of all the virtues, there is an economy of truth. It is a sort of temperance, by which a man speaks truth with measure, that he may speak it the longer. Edmund Burke



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